INFORMS NEWS: Ford wins INFORMS Prize

INFORMS Prize

Ford Motor Company earned the INFORMS Prize for its effective use of O.R. in organizational decision-making.

INFORMS awarded its annual INFORMS Prize to Ford Motor Company, the automaker that has been using analytics throughout its organization to strengthen its position within the American automotive industry.

“Analytics and operations research (O.R.) was a major enabler of our turnaround and our ongoing success as a data-driven company,” says Bob Shanks, executive vice president and chief financial officer, Ford Motor Company. “Receiving the INFORMS Prize is recognition of the significant role and impact of analytics at Ford.”

The INFORMS Prize Committee noted that, “Ford not only perfected the moving assembly line, but it also brought O.R., management science and financial discipline to the company early on, helping to transform it into a data-driven and successful modern organization.”

The INFORMS Prize honored Ford for its effective integration of operations research into organizational decision-making and for repeatedly applying the principles of O.R. in varied, novel and lasting ways.

Ford’s focus on data-driven decisions was reinforced with the arrival in 2006 of CEO Alan Mulally, who guided the company’s restructuring. Analytical tools and the operations research team supported many decisions in this period, and a number of critical applications were developed, including:

  • a dealer vehicle recommendation system,
  • a detailed econometric model enabling the study of what-if analyses of inventory, production, pricing and sales, and
  • a strategic sourcing model to restructure the Ford auto interiors division.

The prize committee characterized the level of engagement by senior executives and support of the analytics work inside the company as “impressive.”